A Disability Justice Strategy for the ACT

Released 09/08/2019

The ACT Government today launched the Disability Justice Strategy 2019–2029. The Disability Justice Strategy is a ten-year plan which aims to ensure people with disability in the ACT have equal access to justice and support for their right to equality before the law.

The Strategy recognises that people with disability experience a greater need for legal support than many other people in society and face a range of disadvantages that make them more likely to come into contact with the justice system.

The introduction of this Strategy will ensure people with disability understand their rights and more importantly that their rights are respected.

The Strategy will be supported by a series of action plans and review points. The first action plan will be implemented from today to support the strategy's five focus areas:

  • Information and communication
  • Education and guidance
  • Identification, screening and assessment
  • Better service delivery
  • Data, research and review

Minister for Disability Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Disability Justice Strategy supports the ACT Government's vision for an inclusive society.

"The Disability Justice Strategy recognises that equality before the law is not the current reality for too many ACT residents with disability. If we can improve the justice system for people with disability, we can improve it for everyone.

"In developing this strategy, we have looked at the evidence available through research, talked with people with disability, their families and carers, and heard from people working in both the justice and service sectors. We thank everyone who has shared their experiences and contributed to this extremely important work," said Minister Stephen-Smith.

"Everyone has a right to justice. The actions over the next 12 months will ensure that frontline workers can translate legal materials into accessible and easy to understand language," said Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury.

"This Strategy isn't just about one part of the legal and justice system. It spans civil and criminal justice and recognises that people with disability can be victims, offenders, witnesses or might engage with child protection or civil proceedings.

"A more responsive legal and justice sector will help ensure that people with disability can seek supports when they need it, making the ACT a more inclusive and restorative city," Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said.

For more information, please visit www.communityservices.act.gov.au/disability_act/disability-justice-strategy.

- Statement ends -

Section: Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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